pro·gram·ming | \ˈprō-ˌgra-miŋ, -grə-\
variants: or less commonly programing

Definition of programming 

1 : the planning, scheduling, or performing of a program

2a : the process of instructing or learning by means of an instructional program

b : the process of preparing an instructional program for a device (such as a computer)

Examples of programming in a Sentence

The news conference interrupted regular television programming.

Recent Examples on the Web

As my colleague David Sims wrote on Monday, Netflix plans to spend between $12 and $13 billion this year on original programming, while HBO’s budget in 2017 was a thrifty $2.5 billion by comparison. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Emmy Nominations 2018: Netflix Takes Over," 12 July 2018 Thanks to its recent acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T’s unlimited plans now include Watch TV, with live and on-demand programming from 30+ channels, such as CNN and TBS. Joanna Stern, WSJ, "Shopping for an Unlimited Smartphone Plan? Know Their Limits," 28 June 2018 They are mostly run by local non-profit organizations, many of which rely the funds the receive from firework sales to put on programming throughout the year. Adesuwa Agbonile, sacbee, "Task force cracks down on illegal fireworks in Sacramento region," 28 June 2018 Devine said the coalition already has about $500,000 of grant funding to spend on pilot programming for youth sports, with hope that more will come in. Tylisa Johnson,, "Too few Philly kids get to play sports. A new initiative hopes to change that," 27 June 2018 And of course, Time Warner networks like HBO also spend enormous sums of money on original programming and distribute it directly to consumers in apps, just like Netflix. Nilay Patel, The Verge, "The court’s decision to let AT&T and Time Warner merge is ridiculously bad," 15 June 2018 But those tech companies now spend billions of dollars a year on original programming, and users can stream their video on apps in homes and on mobile devices, pulling attention from traditional media businesses. Author: Cecilia Kang, Anchorage Daily News, "AT&T's Time Warner takeover wins judge's approval in defeat for Justice Department," 12 June 2018 For a company that spent an estimated $4.5 billion on programming last year, however, the programing slate is thin. New York Times, "Amazon Studios’ New Boss Is Reshaping Its Strategy. Step One: Lure New Talent.," 11 June 2018 Parnell played Scrubby the Pig on a children’s show that aired locally in Chicago in the days of early television programming. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Chesterton Oz Fest ‘First Lady’ still greeting fans," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'programming.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of programming

1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for programming

The first known use of programming was in 1896

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English Language Learners Definition of programming

: the act or job of creating computer programs

: a schedule of television or radio broadcasts

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More from Merriam-Webster on programming

Spanish Central: Translation of programming

Nglish: Translation of programming for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of programming for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about programming

Comments on programming

What made you want to look up programming? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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